Here’s A Very Simple Way To Help Your Creative Thinking
Creative work can be notoriously difficult to sustain. Many people have their theories about why this is. Dead white males tended to blame it on the painful romance of art. But in our modern times, I just think it lends itself to falling into a blackhole of consuming over creating.
The best way to get stuff done, and fight off any chance of impending procrastination, is to lull yourself into a state of flow. One of the best ways to do that? Get noisy.
Why is ambient noise helpful?
Have you ever gone to work at a cafe and realised your level of focus is so much higher than in the dim silence of your home? According to recent studies, that’s because creative work is much more successful with a bit of nondescript noise to guide it.
The study examined groups of people working with low (50 decibels), medium (70 decibels) and loud (85 decibels) sound in the background. They found that the group working with a medium-to-low level of background sound, otherwise known as ambient noise, got much more work done than the other groups.
The study noted that consistent noise adds to our cognitive creative function. The report writes, “getting into a relatively noisy environment may trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas.”
Not to mention that the steady repetition of calming sounds works to relieve stress and promotes a general feeling of calm. However, if the background noise is too loud, it has been found to have the opposite effect. So don’t go turning it up.
Bring the noise
So how can you incorporate some ambient noise into your work routine? We’ve collated five of our favourite free ambient noise websites for you to tee up to your nearest speaker.
A collection of sounds from 25 New York City neighbourhoods. Not only will it help you concentrate and get stuff done, it’ll make you feel like you’re actually in the world’s favourite city. Greenwich Village and Chelsea are our favourites, but try giving them all a listen and see what vibe you like best.
Getting work done at a coffee shop is excellent but buying five cups of coffee over three hours is not. Your concentration dithers and your leg shakes like crazy (take it from me). Coffitivity is a collection of sounds from coffee shops so you can get the same cafe vibes without all the caffeine-induced anxiousness.
The sound of pouring rain isn’t just good to lull you to sleep, it can also work as a serious productivity booster. Raining FM offers three different types of rain sounds: original rain, thunder and heavy thunder. Nothing like a general sense of foreboding to help you get things done.
By far the most delightfully cosy of the lot, website Ambient Mixer has a sound mix of the Gryffindor Common Room. It might just be me, but the casual page turning, wood crackling on the fire and distant, happy murmurs make me feel very warm and protected. Perfect for concentration.
Ambient Mixer is a good site to browse through for all types of noise, featuring a whole bunch of pop culture and computer game sounds, if that was your thing.
A combination of everything! You can mix a bunch of atmospheric sounds together to create your perfect hum of noise.
Of course, this advice is dependant on whatever fits your particular style of working. Silence is always golden, but if you’re feeling a little edgy or alone in your study, try popping on some ambient sounds.